While no one-size-fits-all blueprint exists for promoting books on social media sites, there are several important areas to consider to connect with your target audiences.
You can put as little or as much time and effort into promoting your book online as you choose; the power to connect with potential readers is in your own hands!
Step One: Doing nothing is not an option.
Now you may laugh, but I have seen people leave comments on social media sites, such as in group discussions on LinkedIn, asking what to do now that they have self-published a book.
The truth is that the sooner authors start connecting with their target audiences on social media sites, the better – this means before their book is published. That’s right. Beginning your promotion work after a book has been published is too late. I wish I had known this in April of 2008, when I self-published my novel, Mrs. Lieutenant. I did not start promoting my book until after its publication, so I had to play catch-up. I could have done so much before the book was released if I had known what I know now!
Step Two: As the author of the book, you are a writer.
This means that you have an advantage over others online: you can write. Thus, writing a blog is a very good way to start creating online content that can attract your target audiences. (I am assuming that you know who the target audiences are for your book. The answer is not everyone. You may have levels: the people who are most likely to read your book, the next most likely, etc., but there are specific target audiences for each author’s fiction and nonfiction books.)
An easy way to start blogging is by writing for Examiner.com, or submitting articles to magazines like Women Writers, Women Books. Eventually, you should get your own self-hosted website or blog that you own.This is important because, for example, your posts could disappear from your author Facebook page (formerly a fan page, not your Facebook profile) if Facebook once again changes its rules or features.
An attractive photo on each blog post (not simply the cover of your book over and over again) adds to the appeal of a post. If you wanted to, you could choose to “pin” this photo to a Pinterest account to help people find and connect with you.
Extra tip: I do not suggest using your book cover for your headshot photo, even if you have only one book. People relate to people. Use a good headshot for your profile picture (perhaps the same author photo as on your book), and use your book cover, for example, on your Twitter background, Facebook profile or Facebook page header image.
Step Three: Learn the art and skill of sharing on social media sites, rather than selling.
An example of selling would be to tweet on Twitter “Buy my novel at Amazon” with a link to the Amazon book page. In contrast, an example of sharing would be to tweet “My novel’s protagonist has to overcome a debilitating disease” with a link to a page on your website that describes this in more detail. (The link to the book’s Amazon page is, of course, on your website.) In addition, sharing includes providing information to others when you can, and benefitting from information provided to you by your social media connections. On the LinkedIn Book Marketing group I founded and currently manage, you will find lots of good information. Of course, each individual’s online book promotion experience is her or his own. No one can promise you an exact replica of someone else’s experience.
Extra tip: Check out Triberr.com to find communities of writers who agree to tweet each other’s blog post links. This is an innovative site that is now being expanded to include Facebook updates.
Step Four: Celebrate the success of your social media author contacts.
This may appear to not be promoting your own book, but you might be surprised at how the online community of writers appreciates those who support others. For example, if people participating in the KDP Select program (in which an eBook can only be available on Kindle, but no other eBook sites, for 90 days at a time) tweet that their book is available for free today, retweet that information. You would want the same done for you if your book had a free day.
Also, remember that even when you are tweeting or posting about someone else’s book, this online activity still gets you in front of others as an author.
Step Five: Enjoy your own social media activity.
Online book promotion takes time – time away from writing. But if no one knows about your books, then you are really only writing for yourself. If you believe in your writing, then you should commit to setting aside a little time every day to connect with potential readers online. Do not beat yourself up if every one of the major social media sites does not appeal to you. Choose the one(s) that align best with your abilities and interests, as well as your time commitments.
Extra tip: Do not join Twitter if you cannot commit to tweeting (a tweet is only 140 characters or less) several times a day for most days of the week. If you only post a single tweet once or twice a week, you will not be considered a committed contributor to the site. However, posting an update once or twice a week on your LinkedIn account is fine.
Phyllis Zimbler Miller has written many books, you can read about on her bio. The one most relevant to this blog post is a short ebook called: Top Tips for how to Market Your Book on Amazon and Facebook: Action Steps You Can Do Immediately Whether You Are Traditionally Published or Self-Published.
Follow Phyllis on Twitter: @ZimblerMiller.
Category: After Publishing, Being a Writer, Blogging, Contemporary Women Writers, Growing Your Platform, Marketing Your Book, On Book Marketing, On Writing, US American Women Writers, Women and Writing, Women Writers and Social Media, Women Writing Non-Fiction, Women's Blogs, Women's Books and Writings
About the Author (Author Profile)
Phyllis Zimbler Miller lives in Beverly Hills, California, and is the author of fiction and nonfiction books. Her author website is at PhyllisZimblerMiller.com.
She is also the co-founder of the marketing consulting company MillerMosaicLLC.com, which builds websites for clients and coaches them in effective online marketing.
Phyllis’ nonfiction books include:
TIP TOPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK: Action Steps You Can Do Immediately Whether You Are Traditionally Published or Self-Published
The HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE AND BEYOND COLLEGE 3-book series for teens and young adults:
- How to Succeed in High School and Prep for College
- How to Succeed in College and Prep for High School
- How to Succeed Beyond College
Her fiction books include:
MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL (2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist)
Thriller CIA FALL GUY
Technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS written with her husband Mitchell R. Miller